Roomswap — A lease-swapping platform that has saved students $100,000 in rent to date.
The de-funding of Oklahoma’s public higher-education inspired me to design an ecosystem where students could find discounted housing in their college town — not from housing complexes themselves, but from other students stuck in long-term housing leases. Additionally, as a young woman, I also saw ample opportunity in building a safe + transparent housing platform for young people.
As the Founder + Head of Design, I managed the product as it passed through the various stages of vision, user interviews, strategy, design, MVP, and of course final development.
DESIGNING THE USER EXPERIENCE
I started the project by as a home-seeker myself! While using Craigslist for housing, I noticed the overall coldness and creepiness of the platform; needless to say, as a young woman and a college student, I was more than ready for a safer, more transparent housing-search option for myself and other young people.
Based on these findings, I knew that Roomswap’s design needed to be welcoming + safe to ensure our users’ peace of mind. We needed a user interface that clearly said “we’re safe! we’re cool! you’ll find a great home here!”
I also knew that our housing search process needed to be streamlined and easy for our users. That’s why on the homepage users start their search, only to narrow it down further on the housing search page.
LEARNING TO CODE EXPERIMENTALLY
Roomswap was my first dig at learning to code. I started out with a Wordpress template, learned HTML and CSS, and began building from there. When I came across technical bugs, I had many coders by my side ready to jump-in to help with the de-bugging process. Needless to say, building Roomswap was the steepest learning curve I have ever experienced, and the most satisfying one I have ever conquered.
After the launching this technology, I expanded Roomswap to the University of Texas, grew it’s presence at the University of Oklahoma, and helped students save an additional $50,000 in rent just six months after launch.